f/k/a . . . the archives

September 24, 2007

jury’s in: Blawg Review #127 is not guilty of thematic excess

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics — David Giacalone @ 9:58 am

When you go around doing a lot of assuming, your mental baggage will sometimes impede the journey down the road toward enlightenment.  So, even opinionated pundits (and crusty curmudgeons) need to travel with eyes and mind open. Fueled with copious amounts of caffeine, my eyes were sufficiently open this Monday morning to discover an important truth: despite assumptions and experience that might suggest otherwise, not every theme-oriented edition of Blawg Review is “annoying, strained and distracting.”

Exhibit A is “Blawg Review #127” at the Deliberations weblog (Sept. 24, 2007), where trial lawyer and jury maven Anne Reed offers her “list of 17 Best Tips For Voir Dire, as inspired and illustrated by some terrific law bloggers.” Anne’s first jury selection rule: “Assume Nothing.”

A brief stop at Blawg Review #127 will yield not only a quick review of notions important in choosing a jury (or trying to understand and persuade any group of people), but some great tips on interesting, recent law-related weblog materials. For example:

  • If you want to renew your respect for the jury system, or just learn about a commemorative stamp that is neither too cloying nor too obscure to use on your holiday mailings this year, see Eric Turkewitz’s post about the new Jury Duty 41-cent stamp (buy it here).

tagging along
with an ice cream cone
the senior partner

……………………………….. by barry george

Here are Deliberations top rules on jury selection. At Blawg Review #127, each of them is accompanied by a pointer to a worthwhile recent weblawg posting. Here, some of them are accompanied by a haiku or senryu by recovering (perhaps soon relapsing) lawyer, Barry George.

1. Assume nothing

long deposition–
the lawyer’s
“at the risk of repeating myself”

2. Look for leaders . . .

choppy river —
bursts of the coxswain’s orders
on the wind

……………….…… by Barry George - The Heron’s Nest Vol. IX: 3 (September 2007).

3. . . . and dissenters

4. Watch for points of view

retired Reds scout -
still eyeing the field
through dark glasses

………………………………… by Barry George – Mayfly #23;

5. Look for skills

my nephew’s fastball -
I hand back his glove
and keep the sting

………………………………… by Barry George – bottle rockets #11

6. Notice how they process information

Making change
the conductor
shifts his toothpick

……………………………… by Barry George – the loose thread: RMA 2001;
Modern Haiku XXXII:1

7. Know what generational differences mean, and don’t

ocean sundown–
a child jumping up
for one last look

………… by Barry George – Tinywords.com (Sept. 12, 2007)

8. Pay attention to the quiet ones

9. Remember they have lives

the late glare
of a summer sidewalk —
winos pool their change

….. barry george – The Heron’s Nest VIII:4 (Dec. 2006)

10. Not all jurors are like you

cats at twilight–
I am the magician
filling their bowls

…………………………. by barry george – Simply Haiku

11. Some just want to get back to work

spelling test
the teacher’s
squeaky shoes

……………….. by Barry George from A New Resonance 2; Frogpond XXIII:3


12. Learn the publicity, whether it’s national . . .

extended drought
the wake of a goose
drifts toward shore

………………………… by Barry George – The Heron’s Nest (Oct. 2002)
.

13. . . . or local

14. They want the big picture

wind chimes
sharper, clearer
after snow

…………………………… barry george — the heron’s nest VI: 6 (June 2002)

15. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a juror artist

watercolors
strung across the art room–
winter rain

……………………. by Barry George – simply haiku (Oct. 2003)

16. Make a good impression

the accused teen
and his lawyer…
dressed for spring

……………………….. by barry george

17. Remember the majesty

pink begonias
deepening
the grey fall

…………………….. by barry george – Simply Haiku

Many thanks to Anne Reed for including our post on the Saiban-in jury system that is coming to Japan in Blawg Review #127, and for her generous words about this weblog, under Rule 15: “If you’re lucky, you’ll have a juror artist.” Anne is the curator of The American Gallery of Juror Art (“art done by actual jurors while on actual jury duty”), and I’m sure she would appreciate any samples you might want to bring to her attention. In closing, I’m still not ready to give up my preference for non-themed editions of Blawg Review (dissent, Susan Cartier Liebel). One rule that Anne almost certainly subscribes to is “lawyer know thyself.” Just as some lawyers shouldn’t try to be stand-up comedians or great orators in front of juries, some lawyer webloggers need to do a reality check before they introduce themselves to the weblogging world through the prism of a theme-based Blawg Review. Anne has the skill and panache to pull it off. But not every lawyer (or, please, law professor) does.

4 Comments

  1. This list is beautiful, and #8 downright brilliant. Thanks so much.

    Comment by Anne Reed — September 24, 2007 @ 10:07 am

  2. Thank you, Anne. The way you prepared it, I enjoyed eating crow for breakfast. I do wonder if you made a typo (or just a very deep zen-like insight), when you mentioned #8. There is no poem associated with #8. Hmmm.

    update (noonish): Anne has assured me she was referring to the brilliant (editor’s note: admittedly inadvertent) omission of a poem with Rule #8 “Pay attention to the quiet ones.” Never being smart enough to leave things that work well alone, I did a little “fix” at #8, that I hope does not mess up the original zen moment.

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 24, 2007 @ 10:20 am

  3. David, the reason I’m for themes, tasteful and informative themes, is they weave together seemingly disparate posts into a tapestry with an overall design and purpose. It lends itself to being more interesting and focused and I find I am more inclined to click on the links. That being said, not every Blawg Review needs to be themed. But if someone opts to do it and does it well, like many recent Blawg Reviews, what a wonderful treat for me!

    Comment by Susan Cartier Liebel — September 24, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  4. Hi, Susan, Thanks for stopping by and giving your perspective. The “does it well” requirement is a big one for me, and I’ve seen few that meet that standard. For me, the “tapestry” is almost always an awkwardly-constructed, unsolved jigsaw puzzle, with pieces forced into non-existent connections. Mostly, though, my beef is that there is far too much non-nutritious filler, that adds no value and detracts from the important task of spotlighting worthwhile recent blawg offerings.

    Of course, this is not actually a big issue in my life (not even my weblog life). But, it is fun to tweak my anonymous buddy Ed.

    Comment by David Giacalone — September 24, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

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